The Perfect Beach Day on a Budget
Spending a day at the beach doesn’t have to cost a bunch of money. The beach is typically a fairly cheap way to spend an afternoon but spending can get out of control if you don’t plan ahead. Anyone who plans on bringing kids out to the sand for some fun in the sun should prepare ahead to keep the day’s costs under control because as we know, kids want anything and everything.
Before announcing to your family that you’ll all be going to the beach, spend some time thinking about beach activities that the children can do that will keep them occupied. Be sure to stress these activities to them when you first bring up the idea of a day at the beach.
Tell them how much fun it is going to be to search for seashells, shark teeth, sand dollars, and rock pools. Suggest the idea of building a giant sand castle or looking for metal on the beach if you already own a metal detector. This way their minds won’t wander off during the day out of boredom. Wandering minds lead to unexpected expenses like trips to stores and the buying of excessive food and drinks.
Another way to save money on a beach outing is to bring your own food and drinks in one giant cooler or several small ones. Load up on snacks that can last for the entire length of your beach stay. Put nuts, jerky, popcorn, crackers, sunflower seeds, raisins, sesame sticks, dried fruits and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into ziplock bags.
You can also pack some healthier fruits and vegetables if you plan on eating them before they perish. Pack some grapes, sliced carrots, apples, and celery sticks. Don’t forget to bring some sweets.. Get some tasty treats that won’t melt in the heat. Pack some gummies, smarties, fruit snacks and breakfast cereal bars.
In terms of drinks, don’t be lazy and purchase a whole bunch of them at stores close to the beach. Plan ahead and buy bottled water in bulk. Or, take your old plastic soda and water bottles and fill them up with tap water and put them into the cooler. Leave a bit of headspace and freeze them to use in place of ice. As they melt throughout the day, they’ll be the perfect temperature!
You can also fill up some thermoses with juice, smoothies, and water. Bring along water flavor powders/liquids like Crystal Light and Mio to make your water that much more tasty.
What To Do
In terms of cheap or free activities, be creative. Take along a kite that you and your kids can glide through the sky. Beaches usually have a nice breeze that will push the kite through the air with ease. Rent a cheap foam float to flow across the water or pick one up from the dollar store prior to your trip. Just don’t wander too far from shore and always swim perpendicular to the water’s tide if it becomes strong.
Bring along some shovels and buckets so that everyone in the family can collaborate on a giant sand sculpture. Think of special shapes to build out of the sand like mermaids, houses, sharks, and castles. You can also use those shovels and buckets to help your kids build tunnels and roads in the sand that they can roll their toy cars through. If you’re at the ocean, be sure to fill in any holes at the end of the day to protect sea turtle hatchlings!
When in Doubt, Abide by These Last Resorts
If all else fails and your kids start to beg you to unnecessarily spend money on food and activities, tire them out with a game of frisbee, horseshoes, volleyball, a body surfing contest or a long walk along the beach shore. Or, let the kids bury you or your spouse in the sand. Then take a picture. It’ll be a blast and you’ll have the moment captured on film forever.
Create a large frame by drawing in the sand, have the family lay down and grab an amazing family portrait.